Research Voices


Q&A with AAIC’s Scientific Program Committee Chair

Philip Scheltens, M.D., Ph.D.

Scientific Program Committee Chair for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® 2020 (AAIC®) — July 26-30 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Dr. Scheltens is a professor of cognitive neurology and founder and director of the Alzheimer Center at Amsterdam University Medical Centers.

We asked Dr. Scheltens to discuss program highlights, share why AAIC is so valuable and give his insider recommendations for exploring Amsterdam.

What does your role as AAIC Scientific Program Committee Chair involve?
I chair the AAIC Scientific Program Committee, which consists of several teams focused on biomarkers, psychosocial, therapeutic and basic science. We’ll come together in March to look at all the abstracts for oral sessions and posters, and we’ll combine these into a compelling program.

Can you share a few AAIC 2020 program highlights?
Biomarkers, especially fluid-based biomarkers, have really started to boom. I think we will hear some new developments on measuring amyloid and tau in blood. I think we will also hear some more about ongoing clinical trials in Phase III. Therefore, it will be a combination of new therapeutic developments and biomarkers.

Why is AAIC valuable for dementia researchers?
It’s THE place to be to hear all the latest developments, and also for dementia researchers to network. I think one of the key elements for research, in fact, is networking and collaboration. AAIC offers a great opportunity to meet researchers from all over the world that are active in the field.

One of the strongholds of AAIC has always been the enormous amount of poster sessions. There is always lively interaction between Ph.D. students presenting their work on a poster for the first time and getting comments and new collaborative opportunities from people walking by. It’s almost a marketplace for good science.

What advice do you have for attending AAIC for the first time?
If you’re there for the first time, you should go to the plenary sessions every day. These sessions are designed to give you the latest insights on several topics, so you hear experts telling you about, for example, state of the art biomarkers or psychosocial health research. Then, look at the abstracts and decide which sessions you want to attend or posters you want to see.

As an Amsterdam resident, what are some attractions attendees should add to their itinerary?
What you should absolutely do is go to the enormous number of rich museums we have. I recommend the Rijksmuseum with Rembrandt's “The Night Watch.” We also have the famous Van Gogh Museum with almost everything [Vincent] Van Gogh has ever painted. There is the famous Royal Concertgebouw, where you can listen to nice orchestra concerts from all over the world.

Amsterdam is known for its food. What restaurants do you recommend?
There are two restaurants very close to the convention center. First, the Roast Room, which specializes in unique meats. Just across the street, you have Visaandeschelde, a very nice fish restaurant that is just 200 meters from the convention center. Rest assured that there are a number of restaurants representing several international cuisines nearby in Scheldestraat, for instance, and excellent restaurants in the many of the hotels surrounding the convention center.

Start planning your trip and find more ways to explore Amsterdam during AAIC.

Join Dr. Scheltens and other leading dementia researchers at AAIC. Register today — early bird rates end May 15.

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